Changes to EPIK contract Fall 2019

Hey, all. So I thought I would share a few of the new NEW changes that are in the EPIK contract for GWANGJU in Fall 2019. *Disclaimer that contracts vary from region to region and intake to intake so keep that in mind*

Let me start with an odd one-

  • No pay if you go abroad on *school*/office of ed holidays

    • Example: You have a 3 day weekend because your school’s birthday is on a friday. You have booked a flight to Japan for a weekend trip. Because a school birthday is not an official government holiday, you will not be paid.
    • Apparently this has been policy for a while but wasn’t enforcedRural and small school will get you 100,000 extra in pay
  • Teaching at rural and small school will get you 100,000 extra in pay

    • If you are teaching at a smaller school/rural school (the office of education has some sort of criteria that determines this) you will receive 100,000 extra. I welcome this since one of my schools is out in the boonies lol.
  • ARC cards are no longer issues ON site when you renew.

    • Back in the good ol days when you would renew your ARC in Gwangju you would go into the immigration office with your ARC card and all the documents to extend your card, and they would pop in your card and print the new info on the back on the spot. Not anymore. Now once you have submitted your documents they will issue your card within 2 weeks. In the meantime you will be provided with a paper slip in lieu of your physical ARC card (seems sketchy but okay)

5 Things New EPIK Teachers should know

1. Be flexible

Everyone will have a school and living situation that is unique from one another. Your friend’s living space will likely be similar but not identical to yours, they may have involved co-teachers whereas your co-teachers may be in the back of the room working on paperwork. Classes will be cancelled and you wont know until you arrive at the classroom or 15 minutes after the students never come to your classroom. You wont be told that today is a “hiking day” and all you have are blue jeans and a thick sweater. Photo day will come and nobody will tell you (say “cheese”…or “kimchi!”). You will have to set up for the school festival moving around drums and microphones between performances. You will have to join a school volleyball team even though you are terrible at it, and yes you will be THE foreigner player.

Of course, all of these things may not happen because remember, you need to be flexible.

2. Be prepared

Think through all possible outcomes. Honestly, as a teacher, the possibilities in a classroom are endless on both the positive and negative sides. One class may listen to you intently and in the other one student may slap and kick a classmate.

Also, please be prepared for class. At the very least this is the minimum requirement for your job. Show up with enough material for your class period.

3. Connect early

Make friends early. EPIK orientation could be the make or break for this. Even if you dont think you will be besties, make as many connections as possible. Add everyone on Kakao. Go to Seoul with a group one weekend and see how it goes. Worst case, you can drop them later. But what you should really focus on when you are at orientation, along with the coursework, is building a community that will eventually become your support group/weekend gang. They will be your lifeline when the going gets rough because your coworkers at school, in all honesty, will not be the shoulder to cry on when the goings get rough.

4. Keep busy

Sign up for classes. Korea is a country where extra classes are available almost everywhere. Language classes, martial arts, crafts, art, film, volunteer work. Whatever it may be always try and keep busy. Make a planner of different things you want to do in Korea. If your Korean is not great, try and stick with the bigger cities at first and then go more small/local as time goes by.

5. Remember why you’re here

For whatever reason, always try and remember why you are here. Your visa is for being a teacher. Not a youtuber, not an entertainer, a teacher. You are a teacher. Of course, these other things can be hobbies, which is great, but always remember why you are here. To TEACH! More deeper than that, while it may not be so superficial, the difference that you are making in your students lives will mold how they view foreigners. You may very well be the only foreigner your students interact with until they maybe go abroad for university or work a job that involves international communication. However, if your students are less privileged, you may be their one and only foreign interaction. Make it a positive one!

I know this post may sound dark and dismal but i’m trying to be real! Your experience will undoubtedly test you in many ways, but you can make it great with the right attitude and outlook.

Ad astra per aspera


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EPIK: Common questions -With answers from coordinators

Here I have compiled a list of some of the questions and answers from the official EPIK Fall 2016 Facebook page. I hope this is helpful, especially since the people asking the questions are real applicants in real situations and the answers are coming from real EPIK coordinators themselves.


Q: Not sure if this has been asked before, but if we don’t get our first choice for placement- how will EPIK place us? Is there a way to tell them about our second and third choices?

A: Epik Coordinator – We only provide one option for a preference location and do not give a secondary preference location. On rare occasions, some applicants may be asked to change their preference if there are some issues with their documents or they are not eligible for the location they have selected initially.


Q: Does anyone know when we’re allowed to take vacations? I imagine it depends on each school, but just for reference? My dad wants to get married in early June 2017 so I’m wondering if that would fall within a vacation period. Thanks!

A: Epik Coordinator – This depends on schools primarily, but for the most part the summer vacation period is in August and the winter vacation period in February. As noted above, most schools will have camps during this period, so your vacation days will usually be taken in these months and around your camp obligations.


Q: Since I only have my earlobes pierced do I still need the tattoo and piercing sworn declaration?

A: Epik Coordinator – In your situation, that document is not needed Continue reading